Maximilian K. of Troop 1154, Ashburn, VA, joined Scouts as a Cub Scout, spurred on by his parents to participate in such a “positive program” in their community. Never, however, did he think he’d make Eagle. “My family didn’t really want me to stick with Scouting this long, just because it was such a commitment for them… I never saw myself getting Eagle at first, but as I kept going through it, my parents started to see how good Scouting was for me.” Now, with his parent’s assistance and backing, the prospective Eagle Scout has finished his project.
Maximilian knew from the beginning that he wanted to focus on helping animals. He reached out to a local animal shelter and learned that the shelter was moving to a much larger facility; this required an overhaul of their food storage system. In the existing storage system, a lot of food would expire before it could be used, wasting money and space. Working with his dad, an engineer, Maximilian set to work designing a solution. He created a system with unique lane structures from scratch, where cans of pet food would be placed in the top, and, line up as they gradually rolled to the bottom. The three structures he would install in the shelter – two dedicated dog units and one cat unit – held thirty and sixty lanes respectively, with each lane allowing for around thirty cans at any time. “They’re so much bigger than anything else, there are a lot of smaller designs like this, but we need it so large that you can’t find anything like them online.”
The lane size brought difficulties, however, because they were too large to assemble anywhere but on-site, meaning little testing could occur prior to assembly. Additionally, the construction itself proved difficult, as the thickness of the wood coupled with the project size made hammering nails in and gluing boards together a challenge. But, using the EDGE method, Maximilian taught his fellow Scouts how to assemble and work with the storage units, overcoming these hurdles without incident. Maximilian remembered the sense of nervousness and triumph around the construction, “I didn’t know how it would go, the design was completely on us. When we brought over Scouts, it was the first time we really built it. We were really worried if it would hold all together or things would meet the deadline. The moment after we finished, and nothing fell apart, was definitely the best part of the experience.” Now, the units serve as the core of the shelter’s food storage, ensuring nothing is wasted and all food is put to use.
Looking forward, Maximilian is about to age out of Scouts BSA, but he has no intention of leaving his troop behind. “The thing that was most fun about Scouting was my friends. It was them that pushed me forward to go and become Eagle… I know I’ll be friends with them for a long time.” He looks to continue helping his troop at upcoming food drives and wishes to remain an active presence in the community. As for his career, Maximilian has set his eyes on becoming a lawyer, like his mother, and is seeking the college that can give him the best pre-law experience possible.
For all prospective Eagles, Maximilian had this to say: “Immediately start your project when you become Life. It’s one of those things that’s a lot bigger than it seems. Perseverance is key, if you want to get Eagle and do anything in Scouting, you’ve got to persevere. If you want to get anywhere in Scouting, you just got to push through the rough stuff and get where you want to be.”